This document is the Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy for Pragati Gramodyog evam Samaj Kalyan Sansthan which will be followed by all members of the organisation and promoted by those in the position of leadership within the organisation. The objective of the organization is to protect all Vulnerable Adults from abuse.
We know that being a person aged 18 or over who has a condition of the following type:
- a substantial learning or physical disability;
- a physical or mental illness or mental disorder, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs;
- or, a significant reduction in physical or mental capacity
- or, victims of modern slavery (bonded labourers)
makes them vulnerable to abuse by adults. The purpose of this policy is to make sure that the actions of any adult in the context of the work carried out by the organisation are transparent, safeguard and promote the welfare of all such people.
RECOGNITION OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of an adult. Somebody may abuse or neglect an adult by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Vulnerable Adults may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults.
Abuse can take the form of:-
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a Vulnerable Adult.
Including in this are, emotional abuse, threats, deprivation of contact, humiliation, intimidation, coercion, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a Vulnerable Adult or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the Vulnerable Adult is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving Vulnerable Adults in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging Vulnerable Adults to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Financial and material Abuse
Covering exploitation and pressure in connection to will’s, property, inheritance or financial transactions.
Neglect or acts of omissions
Included in this are ignoring medical or physical care needs, withholding of medication or adequate nutrition and failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services.
In the form of racist, sexist and other forms of harassment.
RESPONSIBILITY OF STAFF MEMBERS OF PGS
Individuals within the organisation need to be alert to the potential abuse of Vulnerable Adults both within their families and also from other sources including abuse by members of that organisation.
The organisation should know how to recognise and act upon indicators of abuse or potential abuse involving Vulnerable Adults and where there are concerns about a Vulnerable Adult's welfare. There is an expected responsibility for all members of the organisation to respond to any suspected or actual abuse of a Vulnerable Adult by reporting the abuse by members within/outside the organization to the Safeguarding Committee of PGS without unreasonable delay.
The Committee, upon receiving information in written form, shall draw up an ‘Individual Protection Plan’ within 7 days for receiving the information for the victim of abuse in case the victim is within the target community of the PGS intervention area. In case the accused is part of the organization, the Committee shall investigate the incidence with support from any number of trusted members of the organization if necessary and excluding the accused member. The Committee shall send written recommendations after investigation, within 15 days of receiving written information, to the Secretary of PGS, who shall put the recommendations before the next meeting of the Executive Committee not later than 3 months from the date of incidence or the date of reporting if there is no discernable date of incidence. The Committee shall report the incidence to the authorities if it is found after investigation that such an action is warranted.
The decision of the Executive Committee shall remain final.
For guidance, the Safeguarding Committee or the Executive Committee may refer to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016
WHAT TO DO IF VULNERABLE ADULTS TALK TO YOU ABOUT ABUSE OR NEGLECT
It is recognised that a Vulnerable Adult may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect, or talk spontaneously individually or in groups when you are present. In these situations YOU MUST:
- Listen carefully to the Vulnerable Adult. DO NOT directly question the Vulnerable Adult
- Give the Vulnerable Adult time and attention.
- Allow the Vulnerable Adult to give a spontaneous account; do not stop a Vulnerable Adult who is freely recalling significant events.
- Make an accurate record of the information you have been given taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, the Vulnerable Adult's presentation as well as what was said. Do not throw this away as it may later be needed for reporting and evidence.
- Use the Vulnerable Adult's own words where possible.
- Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others about the information they have shared - do not offer false confidentiality.
- Reassure the Vulnerable Adult that:
- they have done the right thing in telling you;
- they have not done anything wrong;
- Tell the Vulnerable Adult what you are going to do next and explain that you will need to get help to keep him/her safe.
- DO NOT ask the Vulnerable Adult to repeat his or her account of events to anyone.
CODE OF CONDUCT
With Vulnerable Adults, PGS Staff shall not:
- ask overly personal questions, including those about age or appearance
- (unless specifically related to a work project)
- send/give out material that could be considered offensive, which includes
- material on social media sites
- suggest or imply a personal relationship could develop
- take an aggressive or bullying tone
- take part in or abet abuse
- avoid communicating to a Vulnerable Adult via social media. If you have to, make sure no private conversations take place and restrict the conversation to the scope of their protection and/ or the program of PGS.
In case, the Safeguarding Committee receives information that a PGS staff member is flouting the Code of Conduct mentioned above, the Committee shall be bound to take necessary action.
The PGS policy shall be read out and explained to each signatory staff member of PGS each time any significant changes are made to the policy.